In Blue Wing, my upcoming tabletop RPG about starfighter pilots, mustaches, and love, there’s a good deal of attention paid to the relationship between pilots. Like in Lanceheart, Relationships are a mechanic that greatly benefit the pilots, providing them access to heartsurges in battle that give them a chance of coming home alive, or maybe even defeating the enemies in the process.
There’s a lot of romance in the many sources that Blue Wing draws inspiration from. The Battlestar Galactica remake has some serious pilot feels with the Apollo/Starbuck/Longshot love triangle and Helo/Boomer’s romance, both groups including at least one Cylon which complicates things. Wing Commander (the film) also featured two pairings with Maverick/Angel and Maniac/Sister Sassy. And who can forget the Iceman/Maverick/Goose tension in Top Gun and The Force Awaken’s Poe/Finn?
Ok… so those last two examples aren’t canon, although Top Gun’s locker room and volleyball scenes heavily imply, at the very least.
Those are just a few examples out of many in the genre of love and pilots that Blue Wing taps into, as well as other sci-fi franchises like Mass Effect’s inclusive and progressive look at love.
Blue Wing expands on Lanceheart’s treatment of Relationships by uncoupling them from the advancement rules. Instead, pilots earn them through the acquisition of Tension, which is earned through roleplay interactions that play up the romance, rivalry, or friendship that a pilot may feel for another, usually through scenes in the downtime between battles. Perhaps a volleyball match in the hanger gets too hot and heavy? A cramped cockpit creates unexpected feelings as two pilots teamup to repair a failing starfighter. A chance word in a locker room leads to an explosive confrontation.
But love isn’t always easy to earn. The pilots may rely on their Charm or Strength as they build their feeling of romance or rivalry, but the Toughness that helps pilots survive damaging battles also ties into how emotionally closed and scarred they may be, making it difficult to form an emotional bond.
The battle is, ultimately, only half the battle.
I have the first draft of the Relationships chapter from the book up on Patreon for my backers.
Blue Wing is still in development, but an early access version of the game’s first draft should become available to $10+ backers in the next week or two.